If dark storylines and ample teen drama speak to your soul, there’s a good chance you’ve already fallen for Freeform’s new show, Cruel Summer. The YA series, which is produced by Jessica Biel, has been serving up twist after twist with each new episode. During Episode 4, a new character was introduced who might just change everything. So, who is Ashley on Cruel Summer? Kate’s stepsister plays a major role in the story.
Warning: Spoilers for Cruel Summer Episode 4 follow. The series, which premiered on April 20, follows Kate (Olivia Holt) and Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia), two very different teen girls living in Texas during the early ’90s. After popular Kate got abducted, outsider Jeanette somehow stepped into her role as HBIC and snagged Kate’s boyfriend, Jamie (Froy Gutierrez), and best friends. Once Kate was rescued, however, she told the world Jeanette was involved in the kidnapping. Naturally, Jeanette’s clout quickly fell, and both girls (and their families) struggled with the aftermath.
It wasn’t until Episode 4, however, that fans were introduced to Kate’s stepsister, Ashley (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut). While there had been plenty of character developments so far (like Vince’s relationship with Ben and Mallory’s unlikely friendship with Kate), Ashley’s role in the show definitely changed things up.
It’s clear Kate and Ashley weren’t the closest of sisters. In fact, Ashley repeatedly mentioned how she didn’t want that type of relationship with Kate, even though their parents had been married for 10 years. It wasn’t until 1994 and 1995, however, that viewers saw a different side to Ashley.
After multiple attempts to connect with Kate following her stepsister’s abduction, Ashley met up with Jeanette’s brother, Derek (Barrett Carnahan). Ashley admitted she wished she knew how to support Kate better, and she came up with the idea to start anonymously messaging Kate. Ashley had seen a chat room open on Kate’s computer, and pulling inspiration from Berenice IV (who was Cleopatra’s sister), Ashley created the screen name "Berenice4."
If you recall, this is the same confidant Kate admitted she hadn’t been telling the whole truth about her kidnapping to in Episode 1. Which means Kate is unknowingly confiding in her stepsister, Ashley. The problem? When Ashley told Derek who Berenice IV was, she mentioned not only that she was Cleopatra’s cunning older sister, but that "she was a risk-taker. She was subversive. But she paid a price. She was beheaded."
While it seems like Ashley has Kate’s best intentions at heart, the whole beheaded thing *is* a bit ominous. Here’s hoping Ashley doesn’t go the way of Berenice when Cruel Summer continues on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Freeform and the following day on Hulu.
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